The Indoor track and field season is coming to a close and it won’t be too long before the oputdoor season starts in earnest with League meetings and Championships taking place all over the country. For Blackburn Harriers George Whittaker, who hasn’t competed since July 2022 because of injuries, the North East Counties AA Open Pentathlon provided an ideal opportunity for him to enter into competition prior to the start of the outdoor season. (RESULTS).

Starting off with the 60m Hurdles, George clocked 9.28 in his first outing over Hurdles Indoors, followed that up with a new PB by over 2 metres in the Shot Putt with a distance of 11.29m, leapt out to 5.39m in the Long Jump, set another new PB in the High Jump by 4 cms clearing a height of 1.70m and rounded of the day with a third new PB in the 60m clocking 7.35 down from his previous best of 7.53. A very happy athlete, George spoke to the Harriers about his day commenting “I’m really pleased from my performances today, from being out injured for 8 months it’s a great feeling, to get back competing and producing 4PBs. I’m even more pleased that I’ve made huge improvements in events I’ve struggled with for a long time. But long jump wasn’t good, but Im not being too hard on myself beacuse it was the first of the season and first competition for a long time.

George Whittaker outside lane

Meanwhile U23 Matthew Heywood took on his first outdoor meeting at Spenborough AC – The Spring Open Meeting on Sunday March 26th – (RESULTS). Finishing 2nd in his age group Matthew threw 46.18m.

Matthew Heywood

On the Road on the same day – Sunday March 26th – over 3000 runners finished in the n by Liverpool Harrier’s Jonny Mellor in a fine time of 62.06 with Dennis Cheruiyot in 2nd (63.15) and Morpeth’s Carl Avery in 3rd (65.53) – (RESULTS)

Three Blackburn Harriers lined up – Ben Fish, Lee Casson and Paul Guinan. V40 Ben who currently heads the V40 national ranking in the Marathon with 2hr 22.52 was the first one home for the Club in 27th place overall and 5th V40 on the day with a time of 70.06. Next in came Lee in 109th spot & currently in Marathon training with a new PB time of 77.13 which represented a minute and 21 seconds improvement over his previous best. After clocking 2hr.01.56 (11th) at the Trimpell 20 on March 12th, it is safe to say that Lee is on for a good time in his debut at the Marathon. Tim Baldwin also ran the Trimpell 20 placing 6th in a time of 2hr 00.57. After the Wilmslow Race, Lee told the Harriers that he was “really pleased with the result today and the PB, especially in the middle of marathon training“.

Paul Guinan V50 last ran a race in March 2022 with the one before that in September 2021, so it has been a long time out battling with injuries over that period. Running a time of 1hr 37.51 (675th) Paul was delighted to be back as he told the Club later “So pleased to be able to actually start a race after nearly 3 years without any racing due to a knee injury so the aim was to get round in 1 piece injury free and with a smile ! All achieved and Elliot at the side of me, his 1st half marathon, hopefully back soon, missed the race atmosphere so much, looking forward to a summer of running.” Paul’s son Elliot ran with him and it is believed, pipped him in with a ‘sprint finish’ by one second to take 674th place (1hr 37.50).

Ben Fish (3040) – Photo Courtesy of Mick Hall

Lee Casson – Photo Courtesy of Mick Hall

Paul & Elliot

Still on the road an after placing 3rd (93.43) in the Women’s race in the Stockport Trail Half-Marathon 26th February – (RESULTS) – Charlotte Atkinson took on her first road race of the year at the Poynton 10k – (RESULTS) – on Sunday 19th March won by Bramhall’s Robin Hulme in 35.26, the race featuring just over 400 runners. Charlotte finished 4th in the Women’s race and 32nd overall in a time of 42.39.

Another win for Blackburn Harriers Josh Holgate as he gears up for this years Three Peaks race and this time at the 2023 Dark Dash – put on to raise funds for Rossendle & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team who provide such invaluable support for the athletics & running community as well as for the general population. Over 100 runners lined up in the race – (RESULTS) – the running of which realised a much needed £1100.00 for R&PMRT. Josh took the win by well over two minutes with his time of 40. 55 followed by Rossendale’s Sean Greenwood in 2nd (43.30) and Robert Green (Achille Ratti) in 3rd running 44.28. Ian Clarkson also had a very good run in 43rd spot (63.20) in only his 2nd run in the last three years and described the race afterwards to the Club commneint “Wednesday evening 22nd March 2023 Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue held an evening race called ‘Pendle Dark Dash’, starting and finishing in Barley. Running up Pendle hill via the infamous ‘Witches Steps’, then past the Trig Point, down the slabs and follow a muddy, rocky and technical single track at speed next to Ogden Clough heading towards the reservoir’s and then on tarmac back to Barley with head torches on !! No room for error or you’ll end up taking a tumble, I took two !! Josh Holgate took the win with a very impressive 40m 55sec time and I quite surprised myself with a top half table of 1hr 3min 20sec placing 43rd out of 112 on a 5.5 mile course with 1130ft of elevation gain!!”

Ian Clarkson (108)

At the Coledale Horseshoe run over 13.7k distance two hundred and seventy five runners crossed the finishing line, the race being won by Keswick’s Brennan Towshend in a time of 74.19 with Sam Tosh just 2 seconds further back in 2nd (74.21) and Keswick’s Steve Halsall in 3rd (78.03). (RESULTS). Blackburn Harriers John Horrocks was out in this one running a time of 1hr 32.25 in 43rd position. Running this one for the first time, John told the Club afterwards Coledale horseshoe visits Grisedale pike, crag hill, sail and barrow in an 8 mile loop. Tough climb up to Grisedale pike and a run along the tops to a scramble up crag hill. Good descent then back to finish with a sting in the tale up to barrow. Had a decent run out and enjoy my first race round it. Plenty of cake and brews at the end 👍🏻” On Sunday March 26th John was out again, this time at the Elterwater Common Fell Race which is part of the Helm Hill Winter League Series. (RESULTS). John placed 18th overall in this one with a time of 30.00 with Helm Hill taking the first four places.

John Horrocks

Following a 3rd place finish in a recent 10k road race, Helen Leigh was back on familiar terrain at the Craig Dunain race held on Saturday Match 18th —  (RESULTS) — and it was another fine run by Helen as she won the Women’s race in a time of 48.15. Helen is in training for this years Three Peaks Fell Race which takes place on April 29th and we wish her well for that.

Helen Leigh (179)

Helen Leigh winner of the Women’s Race with race winner Sam Alexander